Sunday, February 18, 2018

Comments by rasselas.redux

Showing 100 of 296 comments. Show all.

  • Ideas are not people. Neither are punctuation and grammar. Punctuation and grammar are not people. Sending up an idea or punctuation of grammar is not ridiculing a person. Reach that point of insight and you will remove a great deal of unnecessary pain from your life.

    Please re-read my text. I make it absolutely plain that I don’t have any issues with people that wish to imagine they have an actual mental illness. It’s a popular modern delusion and I can just about tolerate it.

    In fact, dig deeper and you will see that I am not one of the hardliners that dominate under the line here. In fact, Joanna Moncrieff is more radical than me and relative to the regulars here, she’s a moderate.

    I believe that madness is like an illness. As with dementia, just because something is unestablished, doesn’t mean the investigation is done an dusted. It’s simply unsolved.

    I like to give people the opportunity to be supercilious. I think that is unconscious and relates back to my scapegoating in childhood.

    I have a pathological sense of humour. It is masochistic in its pursuit of shaming.

    Writing that made me laugh. Which again, is indicative of a deeply troubled mind.

  • Correlation is not causation. Clear thinking 101.

    If benzos are causing spree killings, why are spree killings not as common outside of the USA?

    I learnt today that it is federal law in the USA that anyone can purchase a semi-automatic firearm at age 18, and a handgun at 21.

    Seems a bit arse-backwards to an outsider. I also learned that individual states have their own stipulations. For instance, in Florida you can access all firearms at age 18.

    Your president said after the Las Vegas spree killing, that if the killer didn’t have access to 20th C. military-grade firearms, then he would have performed his spree killing using bombs instead.

    So again, if it woz the drugs wot done it, why aren’t spree killings on the rise outside the USA, including places where the notion of the-people-as-militia has long been put to bed as an artifact of history, and having no actual relevance in modern times?

  • Even if you capitalise the term “mental illness” you can’t make it more real. We are all survivors, until the end. Then we die.

    Something I learnt from listening to Johann Hari was that the next time I am suffering through a bout of unhappiness, I should try and buy myself a Cambodian cow, and tend to it. In fact, down at the local Wellness and Recovery Group, I’m running an innovative fund-raising campaign to get the money together so that every mentally ill depressed person can be allocated a Cambodian cow to tend to.

    The dung will go in a compost bin, which will be painted in bright Recovery-focused colours depicting tapestries of famous Recovery Journeys.

    It’s beautiful and the tears well up in my eyes just thinking about it.

  • There isn’t a biopsychosocial model of causation of mental illness. It’s more of a buzz-word than anything. There is no science behind it. It’s more of a badge really that people wear to indicate that they are against biological reductionism in psychiatry. I’m sorry that you are in love with a model that isn’t really a model. You may find some comfort in the fact that I too once fell in love with a model that didn’t exist. She was an airbrushed face on a page.

    It’s common sense that some unknown interplay of biology, psychology and social factors play a role in much of what we call mental illness, but there are some big glaring holes. For instance, mania, true mania (ie not induced by drugs or some form of hypnosis) seems to be a purely biological phenomena. Of course, its character will be influenced by personal and social factors, stands to reason, but as it is about energy, an overabundance of it, it can’t be sensibly pinned down as being a result of anything but a brain on steroids, to coin a phrase.

    “I learned from the book that bio/bio/bio is not reality…”

    Arguably biology is reality, in its most reductive sense. That’s what has current psychiatry all awestruck. Without a brain there is nothing, therefore only the brain counts. Problem there being that while that is most likely true — without a brain there is nothing — it is discounting all the many social and environmental and economic and political factors that happen when brains group together. And while it is incorrect to define the human being as a social animal (severely autistic people can be altogether asocial, but are nonetheless human, and all attempts at converting them into social beings being nothing less than inhumane) it is in social processes that human beings make much of their meaning. Not all of their meaning but much of it.

    I’m okay with you expressing the fact that, in so many words, you have suffered through life because of madness. You choose to call it mental illness and if you wish to, go ahead. Whatever you choose to call it, it remains an unknown. For a long time people have believed that the way to understanding consciousness (something else unknown) is to study mad people. In a nutshell, that study boils down to various ways of fucking with mad people. Psychiatry has led the way in experimenting on mad people for so long now that we have the status of guinea pig.

    But still no-one knows. Despite whatever anyone claims, it remains an unknown. In fact most attempts at explaining madness tell you more about the person attempting the explication. So you get fashions and trends and buzz-words…

    such as biopsychosocial.

    Best wishes.

  • Hello PatH.

    I know a number of people that accept their label, take the drugs they’ve been recommended to take, and work too. Predominantly in the system. And like you, they spend a lot of time alone outside of work. Work coming to represent their social life.

    Institutions offer the lonely a place to connect with others, if that is what they yearn for. It is not uncommon for people to deliberately cease taking their drugs, with the hope that a cold turkey will bring about a relapse, and an admission. So desperate are they to escape their despairing loneliness.

    Solitude is very healthy for many people. Far healthier than being thrown in with a bunch of strangers. The assumption that mad people are better off being locked in with other mad people is frighteningly condescending, but it’s the view that has been holding sway for a long, long time. Somehow, if one person hallucinates Thora Hird with wings promising them a celestial cup of yorkshire tea, and another person hears a voice telling them that all the answers to their problems are hidden inside their missing third foot, that they have everything in common, and are experts on one another, is a kind of meta-madness in itself.

    There is a provacatuer in the UK mental health system, called Rachel Perkins. She has an OBE.

    She understands personalisation. Which is basically the practice of humanisation. And includes thinking beyond one-size-fits-all responses.

    When TS Eliot was going through his breakdown, he instinctively knew he had to get away, somewhere nice, somewhere quiet, somewhere solitudinal. In fact, that is a universal instinct. To curtail peoples’ instinctual needs is to ignore their evolved wisdom. And personalisation is far, far less resource-hungry than other approaches, like Soteria. Just far, far more difficult to meet the approval of the reactionaries, whose teeth grind at the idea of something nice happening to someone else, at their expense, without some element of humilation as payback.

  • Just to add, I mean I would prefer to make my own choices about who I was being with and not being with, rather than someone making those choices for me. I’ve talked about this with someone with the s̶c̶h̶i̶z̶o̶p̶h̶r̶e̶n̶i̶a̶ label, who is quite content with it and the many drugs he takes. He says in the psychiatric hospital they use akathesia as a form of violent weapon, but that he is the messiah, has no reason to doubt that is so, him being the reincarnation of solomon, and that going to a place that sought to persuafe him out of that position was a form of violence too, and agreed with me that a hotel room of his own choosing would be a better option. So that’s two anecdotes. We’re sure many thousands of others would agree with us, if only they felt it safe to dissent from the prevailing e̶x̶p̶e̶r̶t̶s̶.

  • Given all the history, it would be fitting for a radical change in direction in worldwide psychiatry to be inspired by Israel and orthodox Jews.

    Can’t knock the aspirations of a place for people to stabilise without coercion, violence or compulsion.

    Hopefully it doesn’t stop there. People of my ilk would much be better off in a hotel room somewhere nice and sunny. Away from the madding crowd.

    Instead, we have to rot away in pain, despair and fear until the storm has passed.

    That gets called “care in the community”. The term has been scoffed-at so much for decades it astounds me it continues to be used.

    Just to add I would be horrified by someone “being with” me. I’d find that very unsettling. It’s not something I’d attempt with someone else. I’ve seen others attempt it and really all I saw was people having all sorts of fancy ideas about meaning and intent… converting madness into a kind of parlour game mix of cluedo and an old UK TV game-show called 3-2-1.

    But the “being nice”, “being patient” aspects I get along with.

    Agree with streetphotobeing that humans are innately judgmental. I think being more open about it is more honest than claiming to have overcome it.

    Again on a personal level, my dream of one day visiting Jerusalem might be coming closer to reality. I hesitate as the desire to go was implanted in me during a mystical experience. And I knew already about so-called Jerusalem syndrome.

    Doubt I could afford the private fees to be transported to a Soteria house, short of some miracle occurring.

    Would possibly be a great place to end up, during bad times. I specifically intend to mean, ending up in an Israeli Soteria House, rather than any old Soteria House. Orthodox Jews, to my mind and experience, being somewhat more wise and beneficial to be around than most.

    But as pointed out in the article. They don’t take the riffraff s̶c̶h̶i̶z̶o̶p̶h̶r̶e̶n̶i̶c̶* in. Which seems par for the course.

    Although would much prefer to be in a hotel room in a place of my choosing, with full room service and a reasonable stipend.

    * I noted someone on here lamenting the lack of strikethrough capability on this site. Reminded me that the strikethough is much better than putting contested psychiatric terminology inside quotes. The strikethrough not only demonstrates that the term is contested, it goes that one step further and rejects it, thoroughly, while still enabling sensible reference. Strikethrough generators are freely available through the usual freedom-respecting search engines, such as,, and

  • James Moore January 27, 2018 at 7:40 am

    Personally, I learned a great deal from reading the book and interviewing Johaan.

    littleturtle February 5, 2018 at 10:33 am

    thanks again james and johann….I read the book…lost connections….I learned a lot…very helpful


    What did you learn?

  • Yes, I understand that scientific writing and poetry are two different ways of using langauge. I’m perplexed as to why you feel the need to hammer that home.

    The point I made was really just a nittygritty correction to the claim you made that science didn’t rely on metaphorical language.

    In fact, much of science relies on a completely different language entirely, namely mathematics.

    I used the example of “black hole” in physics, because we all know the metaphorical term, but who knows or comprehends the complex maths?

    Much of science is so complex that we rely on science writers to condense the complex maths into a narrative written in a language we understand, and that process is as artful as writing a poem.

    And that is why we have been gifted with metaphors like “black hole” and burdened with the metaphorical “chemical imbalance”.

    “Poetry leaves full room for interpretation and creativity.”

    As does good science. A formal scientific study always ends with a conclusion and a kind of process of thinking aloud, speculating about what the results might mean. The results are interpreted and reams have been written about how various biases come into play.

    “Think of mad geniuses who revolutionized our understanding of the world, or successful artists who exhibit self-destructive patterns, only to trap their own gifted and prolific minds into a phenomenological dead end.”

    Well, Nietzsche went mad after he’d set out to the world how to intellectually rise above the masses. But I go with the scientists who speculate he was suffering from syphilis that had reached his superman brain, rather than put it down to burn-out or niacin deficiency. So while he does definitely attract the “genius” label, he wasn’t a mad genius when putting his thoughts to the page. I can’t think of any others off the top of my head. I’m fatigued after an 8-mile hike down canal paths. I expect there are numerous 10 Mad Genius lists out there.

    Now you are talking about “successful artists who exhibit self-destructive patterns”… like say, Sylvia Plath (the fairy goddess of moroseness) or Charles Bukowski (the drunk savant)…

    Earlier you were suggesting that people with schizophrenia were “failed poets” because they talked in a way that was highly ambiguous and metaphorical. Although, in my experience, most don’t. I accept some do. And this you speculate means that they are failed artists.

    But if any artist is producing work, then surely they are succeeding?

  • If If I were to make a rallying cry, for people to gather, to march against the offices of psychiatry in London, and protest for its abolition, I’d be lucky to gather a dozen people. I’d be marching through the streets past people who had compelling stories of how psychiatry had saved their lives. We’d be marching past people on antidespressants, anticonvulsants, uppers, downers. None of whom were under compulsion, and most of whom would feel mostly positive about their experiences.

    In other words, to the majority of people, we’d appear like a bunch of cranks.

    I had dreadful experiences too with psychiatry. I was tortured by them. Similarly, there are people that have had terrible experiences with police. Should they too be marching and calling for the end of policing?

    The law is the best we have. To end forced ‘treatment’. For human rights to be upheld and protected.

    “I also remember the self-indulgent fantasy of Winston Churchill and the allied forces. They didn’t understand the real world either. Fortunately Dorothy woke up, and the Nazis prevailed.”

    Both the allied forces and the Nazis had institionalised psychiatry as part of their state apparatus. Psychiatry is given a mandate by the state. It’s the nation state that ultimately decides who gets human rights and who doesn’t and what those rights amount to. In fact, every one of a state’s institutions is guided by the state in terms of how it operates.

  • @Antipsychiatric ReprisOwl

    [there was no symbolic reply button, so I’ve put it here]

    Thanks for sharing your explanation of a metaphor. I am not alien to the fact that the term “mental illness” is metaphorical. Although I would much prefer if people adopted the similie, the nudist cousin of the metaphor, and said, if they really had to, that madness was *like* an illness.

    I don’t have any personal hangups about being told I am suffering from something akin to an illness. Especially these days because I recently learnt from an article on here by Moncrieff, that dementia sufferers were also suffering from something illness-like. But which, like schizophrenia (and back in the days of Kraepelin the two were considered to be the same thing) has not been established in science as a bone fide illness. We could then make an imaginative and modern-day Malthusian leap, and put forward the idea that dementia is a conglomeration of poor coping skills, and a self-willed attempt to abscond from adult responsibilities…

    You write that “poetry and science use diametrically opposed types of language.” The field of physics, for instance, is very dependent on metaphor. That is why I can say “black hole” and have no actual progressed understanding of the science, but nonetheless be understood, in a referential sense.

    Using metaphors in scientific contexts is nothing untoward, or unprofessional. It’s unavoidable.

    I don’t go in for romanticising suffering. But because of how language works, all kinds of wonderful things can happen when listening to a mad person chuntering at full pelt. Our brain’s find patterns. In the absence of stimuli, our brains go into overload. When the stimuli is intense, we can feel like something amazing is happening.

    And if we feel like something amazing is happening, then something amazing is probably happening.

    ” And the prank- quean nipped a paly one and lit up again and redcocks flew flack-
    ering from the hillcombs. And she made her witter before the
    wicked, saying: Mark the Twy, why do I am alook alike two poss
    of porterpease? And: Shut! says the wicked, handwording her
    madesty. So her madesty aforethought set down a jiminy and
    took up a jiminy and all the lilipath ways to Woeman’s Land she
    rain, rain, rain.”

  • I agree with Robert Nikkel that, realistically, the abolishment of psychiatry is a self-indulgent fantasy, but would add that those on here that mostly go in for that self-indulgence, leap-frog over the vast chasm that separates the real world from the fantasy world. They have no idea at all really about how to get to their desired ideal. They have no viable alternative plan, other than, seemingly, leave people to do what they will, if they perish or cause others to perish, let that be the point people intervene, to clean up the mess.

    But libertarians are pretty much fantasists. Not that dreaming the dream is a terrible thing to do. But eventually Dorothy has to wake up.

    The system will not change from within, significantly. It will be changed from without, by reformed legal frameworks. As time passes, the human rights status of the mad and the deranged, the dangerous and non-dangerous, will improve, and all those routine human rights abuses will lessen, and perhaps even fade out entirely. All self-proclaimed reformers operating within the system really achieve is rearranging the chairs, as well as making career for themselves, and keeping their paternal keepers happy and safe. While the number of chairs are constantly cut-back.

    Psychiatry will survive these reforms. It has won over the majority of people. There are generations of people wedded tight to their neurochemical tinkerings, and as technology is gradually marrying man and machine, psychiatry will increasingly play the role of legitimiser of this process, offering new and exciting fusions of computer-controlled technology and the human body. There are currently no human rights laws that adequately cover the marrying of man and machine. And that is how psychiatry will save its neck, and prosper.

  • I agree with you that it’s a very snubby, often snotty, culture. And I don’t think that can be entirely accounted for by the narcissism and the fragility. It’s in-group and out-group dynamics. That pans out in all areas of life.

    There is also the ongoing terror people have of their ideas being stolen and ran away with by some half-soaked opportunist. It’s also a very snatch-and-grab culture, as Sera mentions in her article. That puts people on edge. Understandably.

    But it is also a culture that, through its parrying and collaborating, and enabling, of the unlawful and corrupt system, inevitably becomes rather fetid itself. Motivations are tainted. Egos are overblown. Abilities are exaggerated.

    And it remains so, that even here, there is an inbuilt paternalism, whereby the non-mad are the flames around which the mad must buzz.

    Some people, I accept, such as Sera, work hard at bringing people together. Other people, such as myself, encourage people to break free and go it alone.

    But that flame keeps burning, and we mad people find it irrestible, for all kinds of reasons. But we all play a role. If I was to configure my role, it would be to play a kind of Alexander Pope of the mh system, the one that exposes the vanity and pomposity and has a good laugh at it. Because one thing mad people generally understand, it’s how the seriousness can so quickly turn into sadism. Some people need lampooning more than they will ever know.

  • One other point, I almost forgot to add.

    Yet again the insistence that spending time alone, self-isolating, choosing to avoid others, was always, without exception, an unhealthy choice that would lead to depression.

    When in fact there are many people — with all kinds of colourful and exotic labels — that find socialising to be fraught, unpleasant, and unnecessary, a lot of the time. Sometimes all of the time for some people.

    It is true that some people are hurt very deeply by spending protracted periods alone. I know people who start to become maudlin within minutes of entering solitude. But such neurosis shouldn’t be normalised.

    It is possible to spend time alone and not be damaged by it. Or depressed by it.

    Not everyone needs constant feedback and reassurance from others, including those that self-identify as depressed. It would be just as damaging for some people to be given a “social prescription” and compelled to mix it up with other people.

    The reason why most people feel deeply unhappy is because other people are often deeply unsatisfying. The best remedy for that is to develop a sense of humour. Even if it’s just you laughing in a group of straight-faced stalwarts. It takes the edge off.

  • I enjoyed listening to this. I won’t be buying the book because I don’t need to be told what I already know. And much of what he’s written and talks about gets hammered home here every day of the week, in one way or another.

    What I did find interesting was his idea that we need to expand our concepts of home, beyond the walls of our living spaces, and connect with the people and places around us. In a kind of re-tribalising way. Which I thought was a very pretty idea, until I expanded my mind out, and imagined drawing in the many scoundrels and louts that live around me, who I would never wish to associate with, or share spaces with, any day of the week. I doubt they’d want to associate with me, either. So no love lost.

    However, what really struck me was how stupid people have become. Stupid in the sense of lacking common sense for things like spending time in nature, finding value in helping others rather than fixating on themselves, and the value of social groups, particularly the value of sharing resources and talents in communal ways. It’s a real shame that people are astonished by these ideas. A real shame.

  • “I wanted to point out that the terms “distortion”, “dysregulation”, and “dissociation” all include the “dis” prefix which means “bad”, which conveys that they are mere value judgments.”

    The dis- prefix does not mean “bad”. In the English language the dis- prefix commonly means
    “apart,” “asunder,” “away,” “utterly,” or having a privative, negative, or reversing force.

    Nothing whatsoever related to a value judgement.

    I think you are confusing the prefix dis- with the slang verb “diss”. An easy mistake to make for someone new to the field of language.

    PS Dysregulation does not have a dis- prefix. It has a dys- prefix. While they are homophones, they are not the same. In fact the dys- prefix is the only one of the three examples you gave of meaning “bad”.

    Additionally, in the word “distortion”, I’m pretty sure that the “dis” is not acting as a prefix.

    If I was to say (and I shudder to think of myself ever using the word in such a way) but, for argument’s sake, if I described my mood as dysregulated, it would mean that my mood was badly regulated, that it was up and down, but in ways that were self-defeating. That wouldn’t be a value judgement either. It would be an attempt to use a word to describe a mood. The only problem I have with using single words for describing moods, is that they strip away all the context and say nothing much about subjective states. Another handy shorthand, and nothing more.

  • Yes, work is hard. And no matter how much we sound our personal trumpets, we often feel unappreciated, used, co-opted and so on.

    In this article you are bemoaning not being acknowledged by the system. The corrupt and unlawful system.

    Fuck the system?

  • No-one is born with a lifetime guarantee. Life is not a marketing strategy.

    More dangerous than choosing to take antipsychotics is choosing to be a rockstar. Choosing to be a rockstar reduces average lifespan to levels from about 5000 years ago. Talk about regression? No, no. Sing about it. Thrash around wildly about it. Then die. That is cool. No-one is ever going to say it is uncool.

    I believe there is a general lack of sincerity in this world. And when people bemoan statistics about shortened lifespans, I question just how much they actually care. I mean they go on about it so much, makes me think their concern is so haughty they must have secret stashes of schizophrenics all over their home, like hidden Jews in WWII.

    Except there are no equivalent Ann Franks are there, being protected by the oh-so-sincerly-feeling-folk? Hardly any to be mentioned.

    Not that it is easy. I had a close friend who was threatening to be a rockstar. So I kidnapped him and locked him in the attic. To save his life, while he withdrew from his churlish narcissism. He was very ungrateful and continually threatened to kill me if I do not at the very least give his guitar and amp back.

    For his own good I refused his demands. He is now pushing 50 years old. And I believe is now retarded in emotional growth. But he is alive! And I think he’ll make at least 70. Which for his rockstar cohort, is something of a miracle.

  • Drugs are damaging. Ah well. What next?

    Campaign against sugar? Never gonna happen.

    Campaign against alcohol? O dear. What a mess that made.

    Okay let’s fuck up cannabis users…

    They say that antipsychotics take off an average of 25 years from a persons life. Ah well. They will still be living considerbaly longer than people from 200 years ago. And what would they be doing with this extra 25 years? Fuck all, for the most part. No loss then?

  • “If Mental Illnesses aren’t real, what are they?”

    They are what they always were. Unknowns.

    Of course as the good doctor understands, the original unknowns have broadened into known territory. The mistake the good doctor then makes is to forget about the original unknowns and depict the whole mess as known territory.

    This must be I assume because the good doctor is making his dollar from this mess but

    The good doctor is missing the point, the fundamental point, of his own question.

    Ah well. Reel em in, as they say.

  • Well Well, that was a good read. I mean it was fun to read. The effort paid off, for me at least.


    To be frank

    What do you expect?

    Haha hehe and so on and so forth


    You nose-dive into the swamp of corruption and unlawfulness and then what? What is it you expect to happen?

    You seem to be suggesting you want to be an activist, a maker of change.

    And then you nose-dive into the swamp of corruption and unlawfulness?

    It’s as simple as this: everyone who told you to change the system you have to be in the system was a liar, a sycophant, a bullshitter.

    The system doesn’t change from within. It never did and it never will. Choose any system you like, and this holds true.

    You want to be a whistleblower? Then you’re out. You are way out, expunged, gone.

    Every single person that plays with the system, no matter how they do it, are the system. They are part of the corruption and the unlawfulness, and the lies.

    True, as you hint at, there are narcissistic benefits, monetary benefits. But anyone working in the system, is the system. And they are part of the problem.

    Death of an Activist? No no no. The activism dies as soon as it jumps into bed with the tyrant, as soon as it prostitutes its values. That is where the death happens. The rest is simply melodrama.

  • Hidden SSIDs are easily visible to someone using the right tool. To do so requires no hacking. If there are hackers operating in your vicinity, then a “hidden” network is more likely to be of interest to them.

    If you’re concerned about security and privacy then stop using WIFI. It’s a liability.

  • Now that’s out of the way, this:

    I have long observed that those young, fledgling so-called schizophrenics are very partial to eating very frugally, from day to day, week to week, month to month. And that the dietary habits very often consist of eating nothing but breakfast cereal, bowl after bowl, with very little else. Maybe milk, if available, water, if needs be. Even dry hand to mouthfuls — let’s not shy away from the facts (those awkward details often left behind).

    And these breakfast cereals, as illustrated boldly, proudly, on the packaging, being fortified with vitamins and minerals, including niacin.

    In other words, many of the young, fledgling so-called schizoiphrenics, when left to their own devices, choose convenient, processed foods that provide them with far more than their recommended daily intakes of vitamins and minerals, including niacin.

    So there is no doubt that it is uncommon for a young, fledgling so-called schizophrenic to be low in niacin.

    And so we must conclude, o yes we must, that the input of quackery is not to be taken lightly, nor that should it be encouraged. Even though it is, and will go on to be.

    Severe lows in niacin can induce psychosis. This is true. So can extreme thirst and other forms of malnutrition. None of these extremes have anything to do with our young, fledgling so-called schizophrenics, who you will find, the world over, even now, you will find them, if you care to look, hiding away in low-light rooms, sitting on the floor, munching away at their breakfast cereals, exceeding their recommended daily intakes of niacin and other essential vitamins and minerals, as guaranteed on the box, bone fide guaranteed by the globalists and a-okayed by their respective governmental health experts.

    When first reading about this quackery, I must admit to being quite miffed, by the foolishness, the hubris, by the audacity and the — I can think of no better word — the derangement.

    High doses of niacin are very toxic — as the quackery understands — and can lead to psychotic symptoms.

    Luring young, fledgling so-called schizophrenics into these arenas of quackery is very, very sordid business.

    I implore you to leave them alone. Let them sit alone if they wish in dark rooms, with their bowls of niacin-fortified breakfast cereals…

    Watch them. Be there for them. But please stop fucking with them.

  • It isn’t so difficult to understand “the hesitation”.

    Imagine if I touted heroin as a cure for hubris, and then invited you to try it, at high doses, as a cure…

    Would you be hesitant?

    Probably. Maybe if I renamed the heroin after some obscure south american idol, and called myself a doctor, you’d be more inclined, less inclined?

    Yet hesitant, nonetheless?

    I should cocoa.

  • I haven’t read the article. My frontal lobes are all in knots looking at the picture of the woman lying prone, in that impressive spiritual intersection between yoga and deeper gastrointestinal encountering.

    And she’s receiving some green gloop intravenously. And that look on her face.

    It should be a caption competition.

  • If you like to ingest your mercury and other highly toxic heavy metals in fishy form, then a fish-rich diet is the way to go.

    Fish are also a great way to ensure you get your full daily intake of plastic particulates.

    If you prefer to forego the heavy metals and the plastic particulates as much as possible, then forego the fish. Try alternative healthy foods containing your needed amounts of pesticides and other carcinogens.

    Mediterranean people are not more happy than others. But they are often more demonstrative and upbeat. I don’t know who came up with the idea that Mediterranean people were more happy. But a great bit of trolling, all said.

  • I don’t venerate a text because it has been published in a peer-reviewed journal. It doesn’t really make any difference to the soundness of what’s written. Most journals — especially in the social sciences — are arenas for mutual masturbation, if truth be told.

    I’m sure Gautama was a lovely man, even if he abandoned his wife, children, family and friiends, in order to allocate his time into gazing deep into his own navel. And it is wonderful that so many people can now limit their navel-gazing, there being a martyr from the 7th C. BC who did all the leg-work for them, gifting the world with a number of indecipherable riddles and paradoxes that give the impression something unknown is known, something impossible is possible, and of course, the number one met-need: that you are very special and important within a cosmic framework.

    We’ll never see eye to eye on this. But the wonderful thing is the scientists just get on with discovery, innovation, and advancing humanity, while the hippies focus on their navels, and things just seem to go along, all tickety-boo.

    Happy New Year and best of luck and health.

  • Some thrilling soap-boxes, again. Here’s me, clambering onto mine…

    MDMA is a love-drug. Love. sex and togetherness. You remember all those raves you never attended? That’s what happened. Love, sex and togetherness.

    Critique number one: but drug-induced love is not ‘real love’. What then is ‘real love’? Please don’t attempt to answer.

    What is most frightening to me is the idea of a psychiatrist taking on the role of “drug sitter”, a person that accompanies someone on drugs to ensure their safety and so on, and does not take the drugs themselves. The surges of love and connectedness, the overwhelming ecstatic union of being. With a psychiatrist? Forgive me, but, why spoil the fun? Unless the psychiatrist also pops one… but then the most likely progression is some kind of sexual union.

    Ewww. Shivers.

    You remember all those love-drug heads from the 90s? Where are they now? What world did their love revolution contribute to?

    This one. This one of fakery and social isolation. Of narcissism and insincerity. Of fundamental disappointment.

    There are many people that just don’t get it; so drugging them into euphoric alienation is the way to go. Better than sitting back and watching them suffer with the realities of their world and the world they live in.

    I fear the advance of MDMA into mainstream life because of how boring it makes people. The utter tedium of a fakey positivity. The selfsame fakey positivity that renders the world a dank, homogenous shithole. Bright colours and bullshit sentiments. Smiley faces and faked personas.

    Having stated all that, I’m all for any new comedy in life and MDMA’s crazy moon laughter is something to hope and wish for. Much better to laugh oneself to death than morosely humbug through the days. And if that means popping summat, then go for it. Just remember that no amount of stimulants can transform a boring person into a non-boring person. The best you can hope and wish for is to not stand out so much as a curmudgeonly party-pooper. Even if that is your natural state.

  • “The biggest barrier to understanding the mind is the materialistic assumptions of many claiming to be “scientific.”

    New Ager propaganda. Oft-repeated, rarely examined.

    The dominant theories in neuroscience all posit the mind as an emergent property, as like a rainbow, a chimera, an illusion. In other words, neuroscience considers the mind to be a non-material property arising from material properties.

    This does not sit well with the New Agers. They consider the mind to be a material property arising from non-material properties (the illusory world).

    New Agers believe rainbows are more real than the eyes that perceive them. They are over-zealous materialists. With nothing to measure, no science to guide them. Just wild assumptions, superstitions, gut feelings, peculiar hunches. Primitive texts.

    Science is not held back by refusing the incorrect beliefs of New Agers. Refusing to chase rainbows is not a handicap.

  • For one momentary shudder of a moment I thought there was a conspiracy of inducing dementia in people and then fucking them up with drugs in order to go on to induce actual physical correlates, and that the whole brain-scan culture of fear and lies was an intentional appendage to the demonic discourse.

    It might be.

    But I think people are taking knocks to the brain throughout their lives that are not rubberstamped as such, so’s and such it all gets shrugged off and disregarded.

    Even to this wretched day people are prattling on about the disconnect between having your head repeatedly bashed in, occasionally losing consciousness, and then it all happening again, as having any plausible, sensible connection with later diminishment of mental faculties. Or personality or mood change. Unless the necrotic persona falls bankrupt. Or they are looking for some way to plead innocent.

    People talk about plasticity like it’s just been discovered. But long before that shitty word there were stories told of the man that took a knock to the head and then ended up as a fucking werewolf, or the mad old lady that lived alone and she lost it one night and ate multiple babies. Or the man that dug a large hole and then got down into the hole and told them to cover the hole and come back when all the birds had gone, and the day came the birds had gone, and they dragged the false heaven’s back and he was on his back with one foot in his mouth, chewing it, and was wide-eyed and covered in his own defecate.

    Brain damage.

    All of it. At least for this evening I will console myself with the nihilistic notion that every moment of learning from that first albuminic splice, is brain damage. It’s probably a heavy metal song. There’s probably a long, groin-slapping guitar solo in the middle section, and I’m not liking it.

    Happy Christmas.

  • No-one really needs chocolate, blow-jobs, reddit, twitter, ripped jeans, lipstick, hair transplants, dogs as pets, amazon gift vouchers, netflix, and so on and so forth.

    Almost all human needs are manufactured.

    But drugs, psychoactive drugs — and alcohol is a drug — are very much a human need. It is a deplorable statement to claim otherwise. Now one person digs their downers and another person digs their uppers and all I can claim to know about this is that the people that prefer their downers look down on the people that prefer their uppers, and vice versa… but moreso both groups are in constant denial about their drug dependency, which in itself, is a deplorable term, because it suggests that in some way to be dependent on drugs is somehow unnatural, and is putting aside the glaring facts which I will repeat again

    everyone is dependent on psychoactive drugs

    and for clarification, this caveat

    your brain is your very own illicit drug factory

    to live a life without psychoactive drugs would require a life without a brain. very few people have the mettle to accomplish such a task. I am unable to name one such person. but surely such a person must exist, as so many advocate for them?

  • Remarkable how that one political move by Hitler and his cohorts to incorporate the word “socialist” into their party name to confuse and confound joe public, even now, 70 or so years after the fact, continues to confuse and confound joe public.

  • Because if they do, then surely everyone else should too? Including the alcohol industry, the caffeine industry, the sugar industry, the synthetic sweetener industry, all contact sports, low-oxygen environment bucket-list pursuits, the internet, numerous new age interventions, jogging in urban environments, breathing the city air, the list goes on and on.

    I’m not an advocate for brain damage, although, realistically, in a moment of absolute honesty, I must admit to being quite partial to a bit of it, from time to time. Which places me in that sweet spot often referred to as the “average human”.

    I write that not to undermine you, more to point out how desperately hopeless it can feel when trying to advocate against brain-damage in a world that by and large endorses it, albeit quietly, often unwittingly, under the surface so to speak.

    O and, Happy Christmas!

  • Thanks for the article. Some trumpets need sounding from time to time.

    Freud made safe spaces for his analysands to talk to him about their mommies and daddies, who fuck us up. Now, following several billion unexpected consequences, in a drug-savaged Kraepelinian landscape, regression is emancipated, unrepressed. Spaces made safe. Age-play, adult diapers, some mocked-up soiled with peanut butter and others willed in a peculiar act of defiance.

    A mind is an unsafe space.

    Learning from Freud is learning from Judaism, from the Kabbalah, that the complex interplay of our three conflicting minds and our three innermost conflicting tendencies — the sacred triad within the triad — is that we are beings in ongoing creation, in formation, in change, always. And that attending to who we are, is attending to who we are becoming. And in so doing, to borrow some contemporary lingo, we are being with our own becoming.

    Freud was a great pioneer, we all owe him a great debt of gratitude. But don’t have any Freuds yourself.

  • Forgive me and so on and so forth but I am compelled to comment.

    Thoughts are hallucinations. Thoughts are comprised of words, images and emotions. In all combination and in limitless contexts.

    Thoughts are not real. When people make the mistake of believing that their thoughts are real — or that other peoples’ thoughts are real — they risk stumbling into an hallucinatory state known as delusional. A delusion is not an hallucination. A delusion is the narrative of a chosen-set of hallucinations.

    An old man tells people he is going to carry a piano up a mountain. To demonstrate a point. Don’t ask me what point he intended to demonstrate. I haven’t a clue. No-one has.

    Even still, in order for you to even know about the old man that said he was going to carry a piano up a mountain, the very notion had to be hallucinated — by the old man. And then by others, and me. And now you. And the old man did carry a piano up the mountain. It was a real act, a vital act. And for a while it was all the old man spoke about. And then he died. And the piano fell apart and decayed. And then was not to be seen. The words fade. The hallucinations are all in flux. All of them.

    I was asked, Will you come to the Recovery House? I hesitated for some time. What if I went to the Recovery House, and then relapsed? Would that even be possible? If we name something after a process, does that guarantee the nominated process?

    As it turned out, I went to the Recovery House and relapsed. As did others. In fact, more people were relapsing in the Recovery House than they were recovering. No wonder then people began to ask if it wouldn’t be more transparent to rename the Recovery House, the Relapse House.

    Recovery is a chosen-set of hallucinations. Otherwise know as a delusion.

  • Yes, me too, my parenthetical comrade. I was also thrown onto the ropes by that claim.

    Given, I assume, the author is harking back to the 60s, 70s, possibly 80s, of the last century, in which time psychiatry endured the most intense backlash to its healing pretenses, with the birth of the antipsychiatry movement, the challenge and then downfall of its mighty institutions of abuse, its hunger for lobotomy and leucotomy, and other diverse brutalities… all this against the background of the MKULTRA experiments, with its first international president, Dr Ewen Cameron, conducting unlawful CIA-funded experiments on unwitting Canadian victims and so on.

    Begs more questions than my weary soul can bring itself to ask.

    However, despite the delusional bubble-popping, people like Eve A. Wood should always be welcome to sit at the table and share the manna so many others refuse.

  • The takeaway line for me was:

    “However, there are some situations that we universally think of as brain diseases that do not have characteristic and distinguishing bodily features. Dementia or Alzheimer’s disease is one of these. In the early stages, there are rarely any physical symptoms, and even by the later stages there are no specific characteristics that mark out the brain of a person who is suffering from dementia from anyone else.”

    I didn’t know this. I’d been merrily running along under the assumption that the opposite was true. Probably in similar ways that people think that schizophrenia is an established brain disease.

    It’s going to take me a while to work through this revelation. Lots of jokes already, almost all of them entirely inappropriate. Which is great.

  • People like their personal data presented in a colourful digital form. They like their bluetooth devices and their smartphone apps.

    But don’t be rash.

    The worst psychiatric regimen to be on is the depot injection.

    This new device offers some light to those unfortunate souls stuck on monthly injections. There isn’t any reasonable way one can fake or subvert having a needle poked into one’s backside.

    As the device relies on a very simple though ingenious chemical reaction — as someone pointed out above, the acidic conditions of the stomach can be simulated at home… and the pills dropped into the pseudo-stomach acid, triggering the rice-grain-sized chip to transmit its signal of compliance.

    And if that didn’t work, the trendy wristband that complements the pill communicates its various messages including pill-in-stomach events to the cool personalised smartphone app via bluetooth. And again the bluetooth signal can be captured, copied, subverted.

    And if that didn’t work, the smartphone app will send its collected info to the cloud, I presume using personal or public wifi. And again that communcation can be intercepted, analysed, subverted.

    So as I say… to go from the absolute of a depot injection to a technological solution full of exploitable holes, isn’t such a bad thing for that small but significant number of people who wish to assert their right to refuse.

    The data collected also has the potential to give a more accurate picture of the impact Abilfy has on peoples’ activity levels, and heart-rate and so on. As all that data is collected too. It isn’t all bad. This data could be used as convincing evidence that one particular drug is not the best for an individual. It would give them actual evidence to present to health-providers.

    This first incarnation of the technology is not really a reliable method for coercing or enforcing drug compliance. Because the sensor and the communication process are not reliable enough.

    Compliance-enforcing technology will follow this, of course. That’s inevitable.

  • These technologies are not overall “disgusting”. By and large their deployment will save many lives.

    There are lots of people with multiple complex conditions that for one reason and another forget or omit to take their medication. Such systems will help them and help their health providers.

    But of course, psychiatry tends to piggyback, and here it is piggybacking again.

  • In a nutshell, these devices work by detecting a chemical process, then sending a signal. They are incredibly cheap to manufacture at scale.

    They won’t be cheap for health-providers to purchase and deploy. Because of the abundant costs of historic R&D coupled with salivating shareholders and a rapacious profit-motive that is endemic in the pharmacological culture.

    For a while they will be easy to subvert.

  • No. For every one person that resists, one thousand acquiesce. And that one person that resists only burdens the one thousand that acquiesce.

    If the one thousand resisted, which they won’t, then, supposing that they did, the impact would be felt on their lives only, by and large, and nobody else’s.

    Here is a crumb. Divide it by one thousand. That’s all you’re getting. Need more? Then divide that same crumb by two thousand, by three thousand. It’s still all you’re getting.

  • Patents were being filed for these technologies in the late 90s, early 2000s. I have been writing here and there a little bit and attempting to discuss them for the best part of a decade. Paranoia, people insisted, paranoia.

    The good news is that WIFI WPA encryption is broken and bluetooth is laughably leaky. So there’s a lot of scope for ethical hackers to come to peoples’ rescue, if indeed, they want to be rescued. Sadly, the majority don’t.

    Agree with Michael Cornwall, this marks the beginning of the new age of psychiatric intervention. And it’s the tip of the iceberg. There are many invasive technologies under development that will follow this. If you don’t accept the new technologies, expect to be treated as a Luddite.

    Overall these new technologies will be welcomed and embraced as a new form of urban cool. The narcissists will enthusiastically share their microchip updates on social media….

    Also… assisting someone in subverting these technologies will be a criminal offence, akin to assisting an escaped patient.

  • “wasn’t my self-harm a natural reaction to that situation?”

    no. your emotions were the natural reaction. the self-harm was the failure to allow the pain.

    and I don’t mean to play down the intensity of the pain.

    thanks for writing this. that you are reconfiguring your experiences and giving them a social context is great to witness. truly. my hunch is you are going to do well. youre going to be okay.

  • Seems prudent to add this end note from the same link:

    “Bonsall evidently hoped that Abraham Sharp, seeing how painful it was to die, would want to live longer. Bonsall’s efforts reveal that although moral treatment was supposed to be kinder than traditional treatment of the insane, it still used fear as a method of treatment to some degree. Abraham Sharp did not try to kill himself again, but he also did not recover. He stayed in the Asylum for about 8 months, and was discharged, still “insane,” into the care of his friends.”

    Moral treatment…to borrow your coinage….whatever!

  • I resist romanticisation and romanticisers.

    Moral treatment (love and compassion and tenderness at all times) sounds too good to be true. Given that these were institutions and power differentials were striking.

    Here, for instance, is a first and account of one of the recipients of moral treatment. A certain Mr Abraham Sharp. He attempted suicide. This is what happened next:

    “He proposed that We should drown him [as punishment for trying to kill himself] in consequence of which and in the hope it would have a salutary effect I proposed to the Doctor and Men caretakers to have the Bathing Tub nearly filled with Cold Water and put him in under a pretence [sic.] of drowning him they did so and held him under for some time. He was glad however to get out and willing to live some longer.”

    from here:

  • There isn’t a mind. It’s an illusion. You speak of materialism, but really, you are depending on the mind having some form of material basis in order for it to manifest somewhere other than a brain.

    Last person I debated this with made a final appeal to “gut feelings” as evidence enough. Made me chuckle anyway.

  • Apologies for the promise of engagement and then a swift exit. I’ve been working hard improving the unnatural nature pond in my back garden, which this summer was utterly bristling with life, including the emergence of a number of newts, which I hadn’t seen since I was a boy.

    In short, this is my objection:

    If Gaia is a living being, and Nature is a “thing”, then how can you differentiate human beings from Gaia and Nature?

    How can we sensibly suggest that anything — and I mean anything — that humans do is not part of a natural and therefore organic process?

    I understand that it has long been a kind of agreeable position to take. For a human male or a human female to think of themselves as different, other, separate from, Nature. But exactly how can that be?

    The new coinage on the block is “eco anxiety” and increasingly I’ve been encountering people beset with this often severe ailment of thinking. “We are destroying” (insert noble planetary cause here)… and “We must act now to save the” (insert noble planetary cause here).

    I’m not a fatalist. I don’t think this is the best possible world situation to
    be living in merely because it is the only one available but

    If supervolcanos had consciousness, would they too become aware of their destructive natures and encourage one another to think of themselves as outside of nature, to nourish self-disgust?

    While fools are busy saving pandas and trying to get them to mate (while at the same time destroying their habitat, which makes saving them seem like another form of human sadism)… insects the world over are diminishing in alarming quantities… yet who for instance is calling for the rescue of the bluebottle or the daddy longlegs?

    My point is that human destructiveness is natural. It is Nature’s way. And if the planet Earth does have a consciousness, then we as humans are a part of that consciousness… which really just means that, in psychiatric terms, the earth is suffering from some kind of planetary personality disorder bought on by trauma in its early development ie having to endlessly turn around the sun while being defecated on endlessly, rotted and bled on endlessly, and suffering intense shocks with regards collisions with meteors). Also to have to spin on endlessly, around and around, with no compassion from the other planets, no validation whatsoever, no so much as a nod or a wink from anyone, ever, at all. And so on.

  • Or even better — after discarding all mental detritus, all that is left is the ability to comprehend God, and therefore I am a living being and God is real. Or words to that effect.

    A lot of Descartes’ most important thinking work was conducted inside a large oven. He found it was the best method to block out all distractions. And perhaps why his conclusion is half-baked.

    Interestingly, Daniel Dennett achieved some of his own breakthroughs inside a large industrial microwave oven. These insights are shared in his seminal text, Consciousness Explained (which many canny folk add “Away” to at the end, as that is what he does, he explains consciousness away). Consciousness is an illusion. A kind of ongoing hallucination. I found, as many have and do and will, coming to terms with that idea as a bit of a blow to the ego (a conceptualisation of aspects of an illusory hallucination).

    The last person I tried as best I could to explain this to (admittedly from a half-arsed, clumsy personal grasp of the subject) complained that if they were an illusion and I was an illusion, exactly how did these illusions seemingly merge? Were we making another illusion?

    But perhaps, Dennett’s solution to the problem is merely an attempt to deny there is a problem, and hence the solution is a cop out. I don’t know. It all seems well cooked on the outside but colder and semi-frozen on the inside. Like it got cooked in a large industrial microwave oven.

  • The survey of 1500 people revealed that the “condition” is widely misunderstood. The article warned that myths about “schizophrenia” are dangerous. The main findings were:

    • 50% of people think that schizophrenia means you have a ‘split’ personality
    • 26% believe that schizophrenia makes you violent
    • 23% incorrectly think that someone with schizophrenia needs to be monitored by
    professionals at all times
    • 45% of the general public thought the illness much less common than the one in 100
    people that have schizophrenia

    1500 people are not indicative of the “general public”. This is a poor study. Bad science. And was it replicated? I expect no. More bad science.

    I like this bit: “• 23% incorrectly think that someone with schizophrenia needs to be monitored by
    professionals at all times” –“. ie, one person they have in their minds. Not “everyone”.Someone. Someone perhaps such as “Nicholas Salvador AKA “Fat Nick” needs to be monitored at all times. So if the 23% have him in their minds, then they’d be right 100% of the time.

    Here’s another one. “• 45% of the general public thought the illness much less common than the one in 100
    people that have schizophrenia”. One in hundred people do not have schizophrenia. In the UK, if that was correct, then about half a million would have schizophrenia. Yet they don’t. About 120,000 do. The figure of 1 in 100 is a very loose estimate of lifetime rates of schizophrenia, not how many people are currently suffering under the diagnosis. So the 45% of people in the survey were actually correct.

    And so on and so forth.

  • Thanks for writing this. You have a challenging and provocative style.

    I hesitate to tell you why I object to your fundamental assertions; would be like being presented with a handful of roses, and then tearing them to pieces. Although, someone must have torn the flowers from their stems in the first place, so maybe actually engaging with your words wouldn’t be such a terrible thing to do?

  • When animals escape from captivity they hunt them down too. But when they have them cornered they tranquilise them, put them to sleep. Very carefully and conscientiously they transport them back to captivity. And there the animals awakens, and great care is taken to ensure that they return again to their natural state of captive boredom and hair-trigger agitation.

  • Yep. To free himself the Chief had to transform into the spirit and rebellion that the institution had killed. He had to become McMurphy. He had to take on his spirit. To do that he had to become a criminal forever on the run from authority. In other words, there is no final rebellion. It is endless. But without rebellion there is only self-negation, and a death-in-life.

  • Hi Fiachra

    That’s an interesting reply. I feel a need now to learn more about Dennis’ breakdown. I previously only knew that he had a penchant for a good drinking session. And that it mustn’t have been easy standing beside her as she slipped further and further into monarchic delusions, and honouring people like Jimmy Saville…

    Much of mental strife is situational and contextualised. I might be reading into this too much — again — but maybe Dennis’ conscience had to carry the burden for the both of them.

    And their kids weren’t exactly without their own shenanigans either…

  • “There is no evidence that the Las Vegas shooter was insane.”

    O my Lord. Look at the all the dead and the injured writhing. Look at what he chose to do. Look at it openeyed.

    What do almost all spree killers do at the end of their insane operas?

    You know it. They kill themselves. The final scene is always a tragedy. It is always *their* personal tragedy.

    What do we call this in modern parlance? We call it narcissism. The narcissistic suicide.

  • “He was clearly an evil man, or at least a man who did something truly evil. But evil is not crazy. If we define the attempt to take an innocent human being’s life as madness, then every murderer is mad. If not, we should recognize that it is a meaningless term that adds little to our understanding of the problem.”

    Evil is crazy. Evil is madness at its most extreme.

    Problems of categorisation; you want to use certain words for some people that have lost touch with reality, but exclude others on the basis that they are no longer in the realm of good taste.

    Of course it is insane to go on a spree killing. It is also evil. The two sometimes have a dance together. Evil and madness have a dance that almost everyone would prefer did not happen.

    It happens.

    Wishing it away… why do some people get so emotionally involved in that?

  • Scizophrenia means “split personality” and refers to an unestablished disease that does not entail having a split personality.


    Schizophrenic is generally used rhetorically as a way to demean someones’ apparent style of thinking as indeterminate, co-existing in two contrary states. Language has a life of its own and this second meaning would probably go on in use.

    Insisting on the first one as a medical term is embarrassingly stubborn. It is a wilful blockage of the gastrointestinal system. It is time that psychiatry loosened up and let go. Same too Rethink. Both are being laughably retentive.

    As for “psychosis spectrum disorder” or wotnot. O for God’s sake, please don’t. Three shitty words to replace one shitty word. And a broadening of stigma, not an eradication.

    And can someone please explain to me why the neoliberal put-down “sick role” is alluded to in the article? I thought sociology had put that nasty term to bed?

    have a read of this: Why sociologists abandoned the sick role concept:

    Otherwise, keep chipping away.

  • “Skepticism about forced treatment has deep roots in the US since One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest broke the taboo about psychiatric violence.”

    Did that novel (or film) really do that?

    McMurphy was an anti-authoritarian, a crook. He had himself admitted to the institution to avoid punishment for his crime (sex with an underage girl). The first death in the narrative is Billy Bibbit. Billy has an overbearing mother. Nurse Ratched’s group therapy talking sessions are depicted as mean-spirited and passive-aggressive. McMurphy arranges for Billy (a deeply neurotic virgin) to drink alcohol and have sex with one of the prostitutes he has smuggled in to the asylum. He is later shamed by Nurse Ratched, who threatens to tell his mother. He kills himself. There is no psychiatry involved. As McMurphy later discovers, pretty much everyone cognisant other than himself are voluntary patients. All the male characters are in some way emasculated by society, and they have given themselves willingly over to that process.

    There are lots of deeply misogynistic undertones to the text.

    McMurphy suffers two deaths. The first is the annihilation of his free (and criminal) spirit by psychiatry. This ultimately comes about because he punches Nurse Rached in the face.

    His second death is being suffocated by the Chief. A native American Indian that has no identity, is utterly dispossessed.

    To free himself he kills the criminal/misogynist, and escapes from the institution. The message there is again somewhat convoluted. Only a criminal on the run that has rejected all societal values other than a masculinised libertarian ideal can consider themselves to be truly free. Only a life lived in direct opposition to power and control is considered to be worth living. Any social conformity (and particularly conforming to the sharing of power with women) is considered to be actively self-emasculating and a fate worse than death.

    It’s not an antipsychiatry text. It’s more of a libertarian/misogynistic text. Although I concede that many people would have been first made aware of how ECT could be used as a weapon.

    The narrative is more about the emasculation of men through institutionalisation, the family, the law and so on. But particularly the emasculation of men by women, who in some way are depicted as the instruments of a man’s downfall. And beyond anything it lambasts psychotherapy more than it lambasts psychiatry. Depicting psychotherapy as feminising and a conduit of female violence upon men and masculinity.

    There are of course multiple readings. And it is a very enjoyable film, even if few people seem willing to discuss why they enjoyed it, what exactly it was that it stirred within them.

    It would have been fun to watch with Dr Ewen Cameron.

  • “Has the leadership of mental health reform organizations become a leadership class of professional complainers? Getting the grants and donations, stirring hopes and making promises, but really focused on fulfilling contracts and job descriptions and keeping the money and influence flowing? Is our leadership actually presenting a winnable strategy? Or are we setting ourselves up for more failures as a movement?”

    An emphatic and caps-on YES! to each question. Oops. Other than the third one.

  • “We can ONLY change ourselves, period.” Thanks for the CAPS-ON. You are so right about this. No-one in the history of humankind has ever been changed by an OTHER intentionally.

    As we all know, Knowledge is a constant.

    By awakening, we self-actualize. Today, science tells us that the essence of nature is learning.

    Joy is the nature of choice, and of us. Transformation is the driver of flow. The goal of atomic ionization is to plant the seeds of passion rather than stagnation.

    Consciousness consists of sonar energy of quantum energy. “Quantum” means a condensing of the Vedic. We exist as supercharged waveforms. Curiosity requires exploration.

    Have you found your vision quest? If you have never experienced this wellspring at the speed of light, it can be difficult to reflect. How should you navigate this unified universe?

    And yet… we are at a crossroads of growth and illusion.

    Reality has always been aglow with entities whose brains are transformed into stardust. Throughout history, humans have been interacting with the galaxy via electromagnetic resonance. Who are we? Where on the great journey will we be reborn?

    Our conversations with other pilgrims have led to an ennobling of pseudo-non-dual consciousness. Humankind has nothing to lose. We are in the midst of a higher maturing of choice that will let us access the multiverse itself.

  • “I don’t think this really constitutes equal time for antipsychiatry yet, still it’s something.”

    Antipsychiatry is pretty much an abolitionist movement. Neurodiversity is (radically) reformist. What they have in common is the rejection of a medical cure (otherwise known as acceptance), the rejection of forced treatment. Peculiarly, psychotherapy is considered unproblematic.

    The notion of cognitive liberty is problematic for both movements. Much of the thrust of both movements is facilitated by academics (the organising class) and people of so-called higher functioning status. Both movements by and large side-step those they count amongst their number who are unable or unwilling to add their voices. This problem is worsened by the fact that a very small number of repeated faces assume the role of mass representation (without an actual attempt at gaining mass approval).

    Personally, my way of thinking finds a better fit amongst the neurodiversity movement. They do not abandon psychiatric nouns. They do not consider the terms schizophrenic, autistic or depressive to be offensive, by and large.

    “There is no such thing as a “neurodiverse individual.” The correct term is “neurodivergent individual.”

    An individual can diverge, but an individual cannot be diverse.””

    What about people with co-called DID?

    If you enjoy language it’s a rich seam to mine. Although it takes a while to adapt.

  • Just to add that Marsha Linehan didn’t overcome her problems through embarking on a course of DBT. She emphasises instead that it was the search for DBT that led to her emancipation.

    In her narrative the ECT she endured played a very minor role.

    How can ECT play a minor role?

  • Yes, I am aware of those issues. And I am aware of the pitfalls of lumping people together.

    On the other hand, life depends on a convenient shorthand, and psychiatric nouns serve that purpose. All nouns do.

    You seem to be implying that being defamed is unacceptable (by being designated an objective psychiatric label), yet acceptable if it is *you* doing the defaming (by designating others as “assholes” based on your subjective judgement).

    Nouns are mis-used, discrimination is rife. Emotional dysregulation and suicidality are serious and significant problems that left to their own devices will cause untold grief and strife.

    Acceptance is perhaps the only significant bridge to cross. It seems to me that a number of “recovered” individuals downplay their problems or downplay some of the medical treatments that have helped their problems. I could be right. I could be wrong. Increasingly, it’s the pictiure that’s forming for me.

    Problem therein is the balance of risk, and the courage to take those risks.

    Perhaps everyone plays theatrics with their personal narratives, especially if it’s a hero narrative that has become the mainstay of their career or career aspirations.

  • Thanks for the rhetoric. Amusing.

    Marsha Linehan didn’t have an industrial accident. She had ECT. I can appreciate why some might configure ECT as some kind of blind-eyed industrial accident, but even still, that isn’t what I was getting at.

    What I was getting at is that Marsha Linehan — like a number of others — appears to play down the role of ECT in her personal transformation. To go from a person severely emotionally dysregulated and suicidal to someone conceptualising and then offering to the world a therapeutic approach to emotional dysregulation and suicidality is quite a leap. Of that there is no doubt.

    ECT is a risk. A very significant risk. But to remain as an emotionally dysregulated and suicidal person is also a risk. People should be free to choose the risks they wish to take, if, at the end of it, there is promise of a life-saving change.

    I’m not sure if she elected to have ECT or it was forced upon her, but in any case, it must have played an essential role in her “recovery”, because she didn’t, like your unfortunate uncle, become a nasty and hateful person because of it.

  • I thought the whole point of a personality disorder designation was that it was not a supposed illness “like any other”, but more about behavioural and characterological problems?

    Like all classifications (pretty much all nouns really) the nittygritty is arbitrary, and a little bit slippery, but there are remarkable similarities in problems from person to person that end up with the borderline label — mostly women although I’m given to understand it’s as prevalent in men as it is in women.

    Some people rejoice in the designation, others are reviled by it. But it can’t be hidden, surely? How can the intensities be hidden in the real world? I expect in the world of work for some people that is possible, given that masks are available and rewards and punishments tend to be absolute.

    I think if you can overcome the difficulties there should be no need to be concerned about a label given to previous behaviours and thinking styles. What does it matter to someone recovered?

    I’ve found the death of Matt Stevenson deeply troubling. It’s bought into focus some real concerns I have with notions of recovery, online personas, and the expectations of certain narrative styles, antipsychiatry dogma and closer to home, my partner’s struggles to obtain help in a system that is not inclined to provide it.

    I think by and large people do grow into new skins. But the role of ECT in that process is rarely mentioned. It came as a shock to me (‘scuse the pun) that Marsha Linehan had been repeatedly zapped. Why do people so often play down the role of ECT in their “recovery stories”?

    Not that I would advocate ECT. But then if it did bring about radical personality change, for the better, is it an entirely indefensible approach?

    There are lots of survivors of lightning strikes that have also undergone radical and positive personality change.

    I don’t know what to make of it all as things stand.

  • You don’t seem to like Marsha Linehan. I read the NYT article. In it she explains she was diagnosed with schizophrenia. She was given a lot of ECT and psychiatric drugs. Eventually, she moved on, maintaining this secret part of her early life, until 2011.

    Point being that if she was “cured” it is misrepresentative to suggest she did it through “simple life skills and meditation” alone.

    ECT in particular can bring about radical personality change in people.

    She doesn’t mention abuse in the article, outside of the abuse she suffered in psychiatric institutions. Although I am not party to her intimate biography. In the article — which is brisk and scant on detail — she alludes to sibling rivalry in the family home as playing a key role in her emotional maelstrom.

    I don’t agree with you that Linehan ” is really exposing here, is people’s need for skills to manage their complex and busy lives, without which things can become unmanageable. Whatever that looks like, is almost always across the board falsely accused of evidence of “mental illness” for which, there is no evidence and is a such, rediculous.”. That’s not how it read to me. She seemed more upbeat about how she took her own experiences of emotional dysregulation and suicidality and developed an intensive therapy for people that priorly were written off as either untreatable, or, as with her, drugged and electrocuted until, by some brutal miracle, some personal insight became achievable.

  • “If that woman had spoken, maybe someone would have heard her and VALUED her words. Then, psychiatry’s curse on her would be broken . . . Now, why do I think you don’t want that?”

    I don’t know. Maybe you can tell me.

    There has long been a rich canon of survivor literature, dating back at least 200 years. If you were aware of this — which you don’t seem to be — then you’d maybe think about this differently.

  • You may equally caps-on that the RECOVERY movement is responsible for this man’s death. He wrote a lot about being “fully recovered”, a concept which is responsible for a lot of unnecessary pain and suffering.

    Acceptance is perhaps more powerful and realistic than hope. It’s certainly sensible to expect no storm to be the last, no matter how much one intellectualises one’s personal experiences, and life in general.

    The burden on some people to project a “fully recovered” persona is a significant one.

    Acceptance of madness is a whole different ball-game; but it does help with unburdening, especially when things get tough. Again. Always things will get tough again.

  • People will put you down. They will ridicule you. Tease you. Mock you. All sorts of hullabaloo.

    But who gives power to the pessimism?

    I was once told by a psychiatrist that I had a degenerative brain disease. And that I would have to take antipsychotics for the rest of my life.

    As it turns out, the psychiatrist had a diseased imagination and I haven’t popped an antipsychotic for 20 years.

    That said, some of the best unwritten books I’ve not read have had a remarkable influence on me.

  • I suppose I’m an empathic person, by and by.

    Just life experiences, reading and thinking. I think the empathic stuff was kicked off when a resettled German widow and her son were allocated a concrete postwar council house on the estate I grew up on. And coming to terms with the intensities that ensued. She was a bold woman, who spoke very little English. She was middle-class and very aloof.

    In many ways her Fall from grace was an eyeopener for me. Although it’s only really when you think back over childhood that you really get a good angle on what it was exactly you were learning.

    There were lots of rumours about her background. The usual (although obviously unusual) stuff. Her son was bullied in a way I had not experienced before. All the adults turned a blind eye.

    And so on and so forth.

    But I am an English madman. Kindalike John Clare if you replaced the poems with Stella Artois.

  • Sad news.

    Matt Stevenson wrote:

    “The message should be that serious mental distress, including psychotic and borderline states, is primarily caused by adverse psychosocial events, not primarily by faulty biogenetic factors, and that people can mostly or fully become free from these states with support and sufficient hope, that key thing I couldn’t feel at the end.”

    Hope. That “key thing” he “couldn’t feel at the end”.

    So hope is not enough. Support is not enough. What else is there?

    The promise of Hope is generally baseless to someone bereft of hope. Support has its limitations too. Especially if one has built a firewall around one’s deeper, darker vulnerabilities.

    I enjoyed his articles. Although I do recall pointing out that he was conceptualising madness as something to overcome, something shameful located in the past. Something that once was, but was no more.

    Standard ball-park definition of psychosis: losing touch with reality.

    The poor young man lost touch with reality. And there was nothing anyone could do about it.

    Respect to his family and friends.

  • My friend asked me, “Do you think her saying that so long ago is possibly still holding me back, Michael? I remember that awful sinking feeling of hearing her tell me it was only a grandiose delusion of my illness every time I’ve started to write my book, and it always seems to somehow make me quit trying to write it.”

    I replied, “She cursed you.”


    This is for me the finest blame-shame account for writer’s block I have yet encountered. And I’ve encountered some quite remarkable excuses.

    A psychiatrist does not have the power to prevent someone writing whatever it is they wish to write.

    The problem of any individual not writing boils down to three factors, almost always.

    Which are

    – they do not wish to write (but enjoy talking about the wish to write)

    – they cannot write (although have attempted multiple times)

    – they wish to write, and can write, but the writing is so dreadful that it is best they do not write

    Psychiatry did not curse this woman. She cursed herself.

  • They hear you. They are skilled in un-hearing. They listen and un-hear all the time.

    What marks you out as different is that they can’t dismiss you. To dismiss you, they require a pathology.

    In the absence of a pathology, they’ll go on un-hearing you, for as long as it takes. That might be your lifetime.

    That’s also how institutions that have become corrupted operate. They play the long game. Sometimes that works. Sometimes it doesn’t. It almost never endures. People wise up. The institution must save face to survive. It owns up.

    I hope you witness that in your lifetime. If not, your tenacity will endure until the truth breaks out.

    People say psychiatry is on its last legs. What they rarely point out is the regenerative power. Psychiatry is well-equipped to lose its legs. It will lose its legs. And then it grows new ones.

    Banish antipsychotics. Banish these poisons. Let them be gone.

    But who is ready for the next onslaught, for the new legs readying to hit the ground running?

    The new technologies. The fusion of synapse and silicon.

    That’s another battle, for another Mr Whitaker.

  • I think the children who grew up through the transitional period, and those born postwar, that were particularly troubled. Given too that one big slice of germany carried on under the psychological duress of East Germany and East Berlin, with that wall of absolutes separating them. All those many families split, some on one side, some on the other, and a kind of national mourning for the continuation of Totalitarianism within a literally schizophrenic state.

    And all those ex-Nazi psychiatrists, those that remained, seamlessly transitioning into Stasi psychiatrists, perhaps the most politicised psychiatry in its intense history.

  • You’re welcome.

    It is obviously not simply the trauma of war that caused so much so-called schiziphrenia in Germany, above and beyond all the other involved nations, including those that opposed Hitler. It’s the trauma of defeat, the trauma of an extreme rightwing ideology taking hold, creating its pervasive and intoxicating false narratives, and for these falsities and delusions to come crashing down. The trauma of humiliation. The trauma of fascist delusions being smashed.The trauma of living a lie and then being compelled to face those lies. The trauma of having to face up to all those evils. An old departed friend of mine volunteered to stay in Germany and take part in the re-education programmes. He was under orders amongst other things to command any citizens with their heads down to look at the posters depicting the crimes of auschwitz and so on. There’s lots been written about it. It’s a very interesting and important part of history, especially what you have written about. But doesn’t get much discussed in English-speaking circles.

  • Ken Dodd, comedian savant:

    Happiness, happiness, the greatest gift that I possess
    I thank the Lord I’ve been blessed
    With more than my share of happiness

    To me this world is a wonderful place
    And I’m the luckiest human in the whole human race
    I’ve got no silver and I’ve got no gold
    But I’ve got happiness in my soul

    Happiness to me is an ocean tide
    Or a sunset fading on a mountain side
    A big old heaven full of stars up above
    When I’m in the arms of the one I love

    Happiness, happiness, the greatest gift that I possess
    I thank the Lord that I’ve been blessed
    With more than my share of happiness

    Happiness is a field of grain
    Turning its face to the falling rain
    I can see it in the sunshine, I breathe it in the air
    Happiness happiness everywhere

    A wise old man told me one time
    Happiness is a frame of mind
    When you go to measuring my success
    Don’t count my money count my happiness

    Happiness, happiness, the greatest gift that I possess
    I thank the Lord I’ve been blessed
    With more than my share of happiness

    Happiness, happiness, the greatest gift that I possess
    I thank the Lord I’ve been blessed
    With more than my share of happiness
    Source: click here

  • “The researcher, from the University of Oviedo, Spain, has a background in logical theory, and provides specific examples of how the ADHD diagnosis violates the requirements for logically sound argument. His main point is that the reasoning is circular. As an example: If a child exhibits the behaviors that are agreed to constitute ADHD, then the child can be said to “have” ADHD, and by circular reasoning, therefore, the ADHD “causes” those behaviors. Pérez-Álvarez calls out this type of reasoning as illogical rhetoric.”

    Or, to put it another way, if an academic researcher exhibits behaviours that are agreed to constitute Academic Research, then the academic researcher can be said to “have” [the quality of] academic research, and by “circular reasoning”, therefore, the Academic Research “causes” those behaviours. Pérez-Álvarez calls out this type of reasoning as illogical rhetoric.

    The problem here is the style of analysis, which is in itself circular.

    Almost all nouns can be processed under that style of analysis and the conclusion can then be reached that the noun is an example of illogical logic.

    Whereas again, it isn’t so much “illogical logic” — an illogical, rhetorical coinage — but a kind of “autistic” failure to approach language itself as very different to algebra.

    For me this is the first example of an academic attempt to codify a cultural meme. The one in which someone offers up a noun for ritual sacrifice, slaying it on the alter of “circular reasoning”.

    But I do go along with the general gist. In that ADHD is a construct, in much the same way that Academic Researcher is a construct. In both cases the noun performs its incantational magic, bringing into being that which it calls into being.

  • It may be a “sophisticated insult”, and there may be reasons why insults are not allowed, even sophisticated ones, but it is at least not a death-sentence, as some other conditions are interpreted as — even sophisticated death-sentences — given that BPD is something eminently recoverable from, particularly for the significant minority who can attest to childhood trauma.

    For many sufferers the pseudo-medical name-calling is the first time in their lives that someone with the power to help them has taken them seriously. They are used to being name-called — because their behaviour can be extremely challenging — so no wonder the hypersensitivity.

    A very vocal few despise the term. But then the majority that wecome the term have no real motivation to defend it as vociferously as others wish to rip it to shreds.

  • That I sounded pissed off in your acousto-mind is no wonder, given the variables.

    I’m not an expert on the “modern child-mind”. Or what they are feeling.

    I remember being at a party I wasn’t invited to and it wasn’t very pretty… and what got me was I’d tried to dissociate myself into a space in the living room, behind the door into the kitchen, and this bloke was settling down with the young women, three of them, they were getting their heads down. They all had sleeping bags and pillows. And then this much older fella. I asks him what’s his scene? And he’s telling me he’s the uncle and she’s the niece and I’d rather not be there, as it stood. Why don’t you come and join us?

    It wasn’t a pretty evening, all told.

    I don’t think that uncle knew much about children either. I suppose one come-back might be they didn’t know much about uncles like him.

    I think people are more open to being honest about how shit life often is, how shit it is often lived.

    The next bit is coming to terms and living with that shit.

    People with glasses of wine in their hands quietly offer suggestions…